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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
<b>The World Without Us</b><br>
Alan Weisman<br><br>
I still have about 30 pages to go, but today is the day for us to start chatting about this book, so here we go.<br><br>
This book made me thing about history classes in middle and high school. I think if you were to ask a kid that age why do we study history, their response is usually so that we can learn from our mistakes so that we don't repeat them. I guess that is the reason by Alan Weisman spent so much time talking about what has happened in earth's history. There were times when I felt that he spent too much time talking about the past, and not enough time contemplating the what would happen with humans gone. There were also times when I wish the discussion had kept going further into the future, but I guess that's hard to do since we can't really predict what will happen.<br><br>
Anyway, what did you all think? Was there anything you were surprise by? Disagreed with? Bored you? <img alt="biggrin.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/biggrin.gif"><br><br>
I have busy morning ahead, but will check back in later to opine more.
 

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Thanks for starting the discussion ecodork!<br><br>
I enjoyed the book but there were some parts which I lost interest.<br><br>
I think the main thing the book did for me was to make me more aware of my carbon footprint and what I can do to lessen it. I do believe that all of the little changes we can make (reusable bags for groceries, walking more, etc.) can have a huge impact on the environment. Of course real change is going to involve some combination of legislation and initiatives by industry and the market.<br><br>
The parts I found most fascinating were the sections that talked about how quickly things fall apart without us to constantly repair and upkeep such as the NY City subways and bridges. I agree that it is important to understand the world before us in order to envision what the world would be like if we were to disappear.<br><br>
I'll write more later. I have to get out for a run.
 

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I thought the mechanics of the breakdown of structures was pretty cool. The parts where he talked about how long the nuclear reactors and oil fields and what not would continue on contaminating everything struck me as preaching.<br><br>
My complaint about those sections is the same complaint I have every time I hear someone lecture about it:<br><br>
What do you want us to do?<br>
Close the plants?<br>
Stop using/refining oil?<br>
Don't keep telling me there's a problem, offer a solution, even if it's something like "load all the nuclear sludge/trash/etc. on a rocket and blast it into the sun."<br><br>
I just felt like I was being lectured, but without anything being offered on how things should be better.<br><br>
But, I don't know if suggesting answers was ever his intent. Meaning, when I read this, I felt like all he wanted to do was talk about the way things are and what will happen if humans suddenly disappear. I don't think he ever intended to offer solutions. In which case, I congratulate him on a job well done.<br><br>
I did find the plastics chapter interesting. Much more so than I thought I would've. I honestly don't know if I'm going to change over to re-usable bags or paper bags b/c we re-use the plastic bags for things in the house, but it made me think about it, which I guess is the first step.
 

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This was easily one of the best books I have ever read. It was very well researched and I found every chapter interesting. I learned a lot about history as a great bonus.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Lincoln - agree that it was on the preachy side of things. I went into the book wanting to find out what would happen if we disappeared. Even if we leave all this crap around (not that I'm advocating that we do this), does it really matter? Once we're gone, the organisms that are left will evolve and adapt to the environment that is left behind, possibly in ways that we can't even imagine.<br><br>
I guess the background message was "this is what will happen if we disappear right now, but imagine what we are doing to our future generations if we keep going on this way." Although this is a valid point to make, it wasn't what I was looking for in the book.<br><br>
I found the chapter called "Where do we go from here?" rather...odd. Specifically the part where he starts talking about the different groups that are all for humans consciously deciding to end the human race. The Church of Euthanasia with its four pillars of abortion, suicide, sodomy, and cannibalism?????? <img alt="uhoh2.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/uhoh2.gif"> I'm not sure I want to google that one. He mostly talks about the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, which is more peaceful, but in my opinion totally naive. Especially when the head of that movements claims that the last people left on earth will calmly enjoy the last sunsets on earth "knowing they have returned the planet as close as possible to the Garden of Eden."<br><br>
Those are some of my random musings about the book. I have more, but I should probably get back to work. <img alt="biggrin.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/biggrin.gif">
 

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I read the book a while ago, but I guess the biggest impression it left on me is that it made me think about how transitory everything people have built truly is.
 

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I'll come back when I've actually finished the book...I like the concept but it would be waaaay more fun to read in a sci-fi setting. I need characters.<br><br>
But right now, I am watching a TV show based on the book. It was on the History Channel.
 

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Tom Clancy's <span style="text-decoration:underline;"><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=kickrunners-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FRainbow-Six-Tom-Clancy%2Fdp%2F0425170349" target="_blank">Rainbow Six</a></span> is a novel along these plotlines.<br><br>
A group of 'ecoterrorists' want to wipe-out mankind to bring the planet back to a pristine state.<br><br>
It's a typical, fun Clancy read.
 

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I'm not quite done yet either. Just into the part about the extinctionists.<br>
I am amazed at how the impact of what humans have discovered will affect the earth no matter what we do. And it has made me stop and think, I am refilling my water bottles more and more rather then just recycling. And if I don't refill I drag them home to the recycling. But it also makes me realize how insignificant that is in the big picture. We may just have screwed up the earth beyond all repair with the radioactive waste we have created. <img alt="sad.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/sad.gif">
 

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I found it interesting reading. I was occasionally frustrated with some of what I was thinking while reading because the fact is that we won't ever know the long term effects of what we're doing now WRT plastics, nuclear waste, oil refineries, etc. It has nothing to do with the writing or anything, just my inability to reign in my curiosity about what will happen.<br><br>
I found the plastics information particularly disturbing, even more so than the oil or nuclear, but I'm not sure why. Perhaps the thought of tiny sea creatures eating small pieces of plastic that never degrade, and how will that affect them and the whole food chain? And how is it affecting the food chain and biological functions right now? Makes me not want to use plastic ever again, but I have no idea how I would do that. It's everywhere. I do recycle, but the book makes me feel like that isn't nearly enough.<br><br>
Back to glass! The Glass Reformation Movement!<br><br>
I mentioned it when I posted that I had finished that I thought the book would be more properly named "The World After Us" because to me, "The World Without Us" would be the world as if we had never existed.<br><br>
I found the breakdown of infrastructure, etc. chapters interesting, but somehow it seemed less thorough than I expected. Perhaps, extrapolating out as far as I thought he would is too difficult and not able to be supported by any science at this time. Then again, I read a lot of science fiction, so I might be subconsciously expecting more than I should from this type of book.
 

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I tried. I really did. I got through the What Falls Apart chapter and couldn't handle the monotony anymore. It sounds like the verdict is still out on whether or not it is worth reading the remainder of the book.
 

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I was talking to the reporter who was following me around at work today and apparently the author of this book isnt very well respected on the journalism front. He is apparently known as a crazy. I still reccommended that she read the book though. <img alt="cool.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/cool.gif">
 

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I have slowed down on this book.... I loved it through the plastics chapter but am wading through a section that is hard for me for whatever reason. So far, it has really opened my mind to some interesting stuff and I am Miss recycle around the house now. The plastics chapter was crazy...... blew my mind.
 
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